Cowboys Backup QB: “My Confidence is Much Higher” Entering Camp

May 25, 2024

Trey Lance is ready to prove himself to the NFL world heading into his second season with the Dallas Cowboys.

Trey Lance QB Dallas Cowboys

Trey Lance’s NFL career has been a winding road, going from über-hyped prospect to third overall pick to draft bust in a matter of two and a half years.

Now in Dallas after being unable to find his footing with the San Francisco 49ers, Lance is merely trying to resuscitate his stock before his career goes completely awry.

While speaking with Nick Harris from the Dallas Cowboys’ official website, Lance explained that he’s prepared for the QB2 battle with Cooper Rush for the backup gig behind Dak Prescott, feeling more confident going into his second season with the Dallas Cowboys.

[My confidence] is much higher than it was when I got into the NFL, for sure. I kind of didn’t know what to expect. I think that’s probably most rookies, if not all of them at one point or another throughout that first year. I feel great about where I’m at. Continuing to get better, continuing to learn and continuing to be a better quarterback.”

Lance had his fifth-year option declined earlier this month, so his tenure in the Lone Star state isn’t guaranteed to last beyond this year. Still, he has the pedigree of a top-three pick, and at just 24 years old, he still has plenty of time to grow into a quality NFL signal caller.

Cowboys’ Backup QB Competition Could Get Heated

Lance has more raw talent, but Rush has played in three times as many gamesDallas Cowboys backup quarterback Trey Lance

Lance will earn $5.31 million total next season, which is an unusually large figure for a third-string quarterback. It stands to reason that Lance will have every opportunity to earn the backup role in training camp, though Rush is stiffer competition than most might expect.

Cowboys Backup QB Competition (Career Stats)


Trey Lance

Cooper Rush

Games Played

8 (4 starts)

26 (6 starts)

Completion %



Passing Yards



Passing TDs






Passer Rating



Cowboys offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer admitted last week that the team needs to get Lance more reps to see what it has in the former first-round pick, though they obviously won’t come at the expense of Prescott, who just finished second in MVP voting last year.

Rush has the prototypical profile of a backup quarterback, as he’s been in the league since 2017 after going undrafted out of Central Michigan. He’s been with Dallas for all of those seasons, which gives him some familiarity with head coach Mike McCarthy, though he did get waived in 2020 and spend that season on the team’s practice squad.

GIVEMESPORT KEY STAT: Trey Lance has only thrown 102 career NFL passes, by far the fewest of any QB drafted with a top three pick since 1960.

After the San Francisco 49ers gave up a boatload to acquire him, including three first-round draft picks, Lance sat behind Jimmy Garoppolo in his rookie season. He was then named the 49ers’ starter for the 2022 season, which immediately got upended when he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks.

When Brock Purdy revealed himself to be more than capable of running Kyle Shanahan’s offense, Lance became expendable, and the Cowboys acquired him for a mere fourth-round pick last August.

Lance will now enter training camp in a competition with Rush for the Cowboys’ backup QB spot, and winning it could do wonders for his career. If Prescott finds himself injured again, or if the Cowboys find themselves in a number of blowouts, Lance could get his first NFL action since those opening weeks in 2022.

Though he’ll be entering his fourth NFL season, Lance is still young and raw. The elite athleticism, abundant arm strength and lightning quick reaction time that made him a top prospect still exists, and the year he spent learning on the bench under great offensive minds (Shanahan, McCarthy) may have helped his processing and ability to read defenses.

Lance has a long road to climb to shed the bust label that’s been attached to him since the 49ers traded him to Dallas, but he’s as adept at handling adversity as anyone. If he impresses at training camp, Lance could again see an NFL gridiron in short order.